The Domestic Abuse Bill is one of 16 Bills which have received Royal Assent – the ‘landmark’ Domestic Abuse Act is designed to strengthen protection for those who experience domestic abuse and to increase measures available to tackle perpetrators.
Rebecca Procter, Head of Wollens family team commented, ‘We are delighted that further steps are being taking to support those who suffer from domestic abuse. We know that it can take many forms, not just physical and it can affect anyone. Widening support and access is a great step forward in recognition of this.’
The measures introduced in the Act include:
- Giving victims better access to special measures in the courtroom to prevent intimidation & ensuring that abusers will no longer be allowed to directly cross-examine their victims in the family and civil courts in England and Wales
- Providing a broad legal definition of domestic abuse which incorporates abuse beyond physical violence
- Establishing in law the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and setting out the Commissioner’s functions and powers
- Providing police with new powers including Domestic Abuse Protection Notices to provide victims with immediate protection from abusers
- Enabling courts to hand out new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to help prevent offending by forcing perpetrators to take steps to change their behaviour
- Creating a new offence of non-fatal strangulation and widening revenge porn laws.
- Imposing a legal duty on councils across England to provide support such as therapy, advocacy and counselling in safe accommodation
- Providing that all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse automatically have ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance
- Placing the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (‘Clare’s law’) on a statutory footing
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